Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Links to Linguistic philosophy

Choice quotes from selected essays.  For the context, click on the link.

Quine, who likes his whisky neat and his universes spare, takes an opposite tack, that of “entities explained away” (with the aid of variables and quantifiers), abolishing those unaesthetic singular terms.  Here Pegasus disappears in a puff of “pegasizing”.

In focusing on definition, I am inadvertently revealing the déformation professionelle of one who used to earn his bread (or rather his hardtack; the profession is ill-paid) as a lexicographer.   For, rather than trying to say what a thing “is” (and here the Korzybskian strictures against the copula  have their full force), we may say, pragmatically rather than ontologically, what a thing is for.

Nicht vom Wetter spricht sie, nicht vom Schneider,
höchstens von den Grundproblemen  beider.
-- Christian Morgenstern

Our purpose is twofold;  indeed, the twin goals “can be thought of” as dual to each other.  The ostensible aim is (lightly) mathematical:  to provide pithy thumbnail sketches of complex fields of research.   The more substantial project takes place rather in the lexicographic ‘conjugate space’ which maps the items so defined  into intuitive English.

This, by contrast with the more traditional understanding of names achieving their reference via matching some understood description -- you manage to pick out Aristotle from amidst the hordes of shades, by his embodying certain characteristics --  teacher of Alexander, author of the Organon, known to his homeys as “the Stagirite”. http://worldofdrjustice.blogspot.com/2013/07/naming-necessity.html

“Not a ‘triplex of mutually orthogonal rabbit-slices’, dammit!  I mean three  separate  rabbits !!”

But here Quine is surely correct, as regards the sequential ontologenesis.  Initially, Mama simply is what she is, as presented:  Die Mutti ohne Eigenschaften, as it were.

Our bow to Gleason’s semantic precisionism  is not by way of fetishizing fine distinctions.

More boredom thou shalt never see
than Tarski’s Truth Convention T.

In the next-inner circle of the petting zoo, qualified visitors may pet bunnies in their paradoxical yet intimate homoousian duality:  Fully Temporal-rabbit-stage, yet fully Rabbit…

We have had several occasions to to hail that celebrated ontologist, gentleman, astronaut and circus-clown (for such he might have been, in a parallel universe), Professor Alexius Meinong.

It is our theory that all sentences whatever  of a natural language such as English, whether posed in the declarative, interrogative, or exclamatory mode, contain direct or indirect references to penguins.  http://worldofdrjustice.blogspot.com/2013/02/some-problems-of-philosphy.html

Here we learn that “Nominalists hold that there are no numbers”;  this involves them in certain epistemological difficulties.   But en revanche (ô doulce revanche), numbers hold that there are no nominalists.  This  involves them in no difficulties at all.

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